To the Editor:
Tax the few to subsidize the many. In this case, the few are the resident taxpayers of Boca Grande and the many are not the poor and needy.
A poorly worded and non-specific limited referendum will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot that if passed by the majority of voters authorizes an ad valorem tax on the resident property owners of Gasparilla Island (the few).
The intended purpose is to eliminate or limit the amount of toll increases necessary to pay for the construction of our new bridges. However, if adequate financing is secured, which is possible, no toll increases will be necessary.
The argument for the property tax increase is it will lessen the burden on day-trippers, workers on island who drive from off-island and non-resident vacationers and other visitors (the many).
Let's examine the burden.
Day-trippers arrive in vehicles holding two, four or more people who spend many dollars eating, buying merchandise and renting golf carts. Is a reasonable increase in tolls going to dissuade them from coming because it represents a burden? Hardly!
Off-island workers who make a daily trip have seen gas prices double in the last year. If the tax were deemed justified to subsidize any additional toll increases for them, wouldn't it seem equally justified for a tax to subsidize the much more costly fuel prices these persons have incurred. Of course not - that would be absurd.
Workers who drive on island to deliver goods and those who work in construction and services such as landscaping and a myriad other services consider the value and cost of their goods on a daily basis .Is a potential toll increase going to be any kind of a financial factor? It would probably be an immeasurable factor.
Lastly, let's consider a very important factor: Passing this referendum could open a Pandora's Box by setting a precedent for future special taxes for any number of special projects on the island such as an expansion of commercial and parking facilities.
Vote a resounding NO on Nov. 6! And be sure you know which one you mark against the tax.